So when I come across something unexpected---like, specifically, a wine normally identified as "Italian", but coming from Southern France---I am intrigued. When the price is a measly $6.99, I figure why not take a plunge. And when the wine shop buyer, who has a pretty good palate, says he likes it, there's no reason to ponder anymore, and I buy it to try it.
Domaine des Yeuses Vermentino, Pays d'Oc, 2005.
Okay, the Italians call it Vermentino---but in France they traditionally call it Rolle. Same grape. And though it got trendy under the Italian name, historically it has usually been submerged as an indiscriminate 'blender'. But it is a variety, and it's been around for awhile, and we are beginning to see some stylistic variations. First there was the island version, then the Bolgheri/Tuscany version. Now here's the one from the Pays d'Oc.
My take: it's good wine, and it will have some adherents, but this style is simply not my cup of tea. I should hasten to add here that the other three folks sharing it with me were much more appreciative than I; they all liked it quite a bit, and lapped it up without hesitation. And a rapidly emptying bottle is just as sound a critique as anything said or written.
The Domaine des Yeuses was incredibly perfumey, almost Muscat/Moschofilero, but more Moschofilero than Muscat in that there was no appreciable body behind it. Very light in texture but exuding intense floral qualities on the nose. This was a mixed bouquet of very fragrant flowers, and only incidentally about fruit, and to me devoid of any redeeming minerality or backbone. Pleasant enough, yes, on a late summer's evening, but not anything I'd like to have more than a single glass of. There were hints and reminiscences of Riesling...but more the Rheinhessen than the Mosel, and maybe more Muller-Thurgau or sweet Kerner than Riesling at that. There were even more hints, though, of Viognier, but the type of Viognier that has that sickly sweet, slightly decaying smell of Lily of the Valley lingering just underneath.
In sum, it's a very, very pleasant wine, with powerfully perfumed floral notes (maybe a bit too powerful?), but it just doesn't keep me interested. I'd rather have the version from the islands myself.
Still, at the price, this is a nifty little wine for people who like the aromatics.